At the start of the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), there were a lot of software innovations, including some on the subject of privacy. With Private Relay, Apple will offer a VPN-like service – just not where it is not wanted by those in power.
Here Apple unveiled, among other things, the feature called “Private Relay”. This is an anonymization function that hides the user’s IP address from third parties with the help of Apple servers. In practice, this means that the server you are communicating with does not know the IP address – so it is essentially a Virtual Private Network (VPN).
The feature, which is supposed to prevent tracking of providers and advertisers, for example, will be available almost everywhere in the world – except in regimes and democratically rather less exemplary countries. As reported by Reuters news, Apple will not offer the feature in China, Belarus, Colombia, Egypt, Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkmenistan, Uganda, and the Philippines.
Especially China is worth mentioning: Apple argues here with “regulatory reasons”, but it is clear that this is related to the Chinese ban on VPNs. The Californian company, which generates around 15 percent of its sales in China, has always not wanted to go on a course of confrontation with the Beijing government and is repeatedly criticized for this in the West.
According to Apple, the function is primarily intended to prevent advertising tracking. Private Relay is also not necessarily seen as a tool for freedom of expression, but rather as a means against competitors like Facebook and Google. Apple, of course, wants users to use their own APIs and the App Store to consume.
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